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"The President's Own"

United States Marine Band

Colonel Jason K. Fettig, Director
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Picture Studies

By Staff Sgt. Rachel Ghadiali | United States Marine Band | May 12, 2016


The Marine Band will present a program titled “Picture Studies” at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 15 at Northern Virginia Community College’s Schlesinger Concert Hall in Alexandria. Conducted by Lieutenant Col. Jason K. Fettig, this concert explores how images and imagination are turned into music, with inspiration taken from ancient ballads, painting, sculpture, poetry, photographs, and film. The concert is free and tickets are not required.

The five works on the concert will also comprise the band’s next educational recording. The program includes David Conte’s A Copland Portrait, Ottorino Resphigi’s Huntingtower Ballad, Adam Schoenberg’s Picture Studies, Joel Puckett’s It perched for Vespers nine, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Suite from The Gadfly. Each of these works began its life as a very personal study and interpretation by the composer. Yet music possesses the potential to move well beyond the images that inspire it, becoming living art that evolves with each performance and brings with it the invitation to create new pictures within the mind of the listener.

Conte composed A Copland Portrait in honor of the centennial of the famous composer’s birth. According to the composer, “I relished the challenge of asserting my own personality in a portrait of Copland, while relying upon my deep love and knowledge of Copland’s work to guide me.”

Upon receiving a commission from the Kansas City Symphony and the Nelson-Atkins Museum to write a twenty-first century Pictures at an Exhibition [Modest Mussorgsky], Schoenberg notes that “the idea seemed both intriguing and ambitious, and given my own interest in visual art, I welcomed the challenge. After conceptualizing the piece for six months, and visiting the Nelson-Atkins on three different occasions, I decided to compose a series of studies.”

Following the program, Schoenberg, Puckett, and Fettig will meet and greet patrons in the lobby. “I hope those who attend the concert will appreciate the unique power music has to create pictures within the mind, and I think they will very much enjoy the opportunity to hear directly from the composers about the inspiration behind their original music,” Fettig said.

The Marine Band’s performance of “Picture Studies” will take place at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 15, at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall at Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria. Free parking is available in the lot adjacent the concert hall. The concert is free; no tickets are required.

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